In one lamentable performance, CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees lost the handle on their long-term domination of the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
Wei-Yin Chen outpitched Sabathia, and the Orioles got a home run from Adam Jones in a 5-2 victory Tuesday night.
Sabathia (5-1) came in 16-2 lifetime against the Orioles, including 10-1 in Baltimore. The husky left-hander was seeking to go 6-0 for the first time in his career, but instead absorbed his first loss at Camden Yards since April 2009.
In addition, New York fell to 4-1 in Baltimore this year and 10-4 since the start of the 2011 season.
"They're a much improved team," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of the first-place Orioles. "Their pitching has improved dramatically. That's the big difference."
Sabathia gave up four runs, eight hits and a season-high four walks in six innings. He had pitched eight innings in each of his previous four starts.
"The sinker was a little off," Sabathia said. "I felt like I had a good one early but it kind of went away from me. The four walks killed me."
Chen (4-0) allowed two runs, struck out four and walked two over seven innings in a masterful performance. The 26-year-old Taiwan native took a shutout into the seventh — and made it look easy.
In this first outing against the Yankees, on April 10, Chen allowed a homer to the first batter he faced and ended up giving up two runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings.
He was far better this time.
"The first time, the debut I was so nervous," Chen said through an interpreter. "This time, I was just like I've had this experience already so everything was fine to me."
Chen retired 10 straight before Robinson Cano's leadoff double in the seventh.
Two outs later, Curtis Granderson hit his 13th home run, an opposite-field drive that barely cleared the 7-foot wall in left — a fan wearing a Yankees jacket knocked his glove into the mitt of rookie outfielder Xavier Avery.
"I don't know if it was somebody in midnight blue or black and orange there," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I've got an educated guess."
It was only the third homer yielded by Chen in 44 innings this year, and it got the Yankees to 4-2.
Chen came out to the mound for the top of the eighth but was pulled by Showalter when the Yankees sent up a pinch hitter. That enabled the Orioles fans in the crowd of 24,055 to give the left-hander a hearty standing ovation.
Pedro Strop got Cano to hit into an inning-ending double play in the eighth, and Jim Johnson got three outs for his 12th save in 12 tries.
Jones gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead in the second inning with his team-high 11th home run, the first surrendered by Sabathia since April 29. Eight of Jones' homers have either tied the game or put the Orioles in front.
Baltimore loaded the bases with no outs in the third but got only one run, on a 6-4-3 double-play grounder by Hardy. Hardy didn't receive credit for an RBI on that one, but in the fifth inning he lined a run-scoring double to left following a walk to Avery.
In the sixth, Chen showed his deftness in the field by stabbing a liner by Nick Swisher at eye level for the final out.
Baltimore went up 4-0 in the bottom half during an inning in which only one ball got out of the infield. Bill Hall walked and Steve Tolleson singled to right before infield hits by Robert Andino and Hardy produced a run. Hardy's RBI single behind second base handcuffed Cano, whose high throw to shortstop Derek Jeter was too late to force Andino.
Granderson's homer halved the lead, but the Orioles made it 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh when Jones singled, stole second, advanced on a grounder and scored on a passed ball.
NOTES: Baltimore went 4-5 on a homestand against Texas, Tampa Bay and New York. ... The Yankees placed RHP David Robertson (strained left oblique) on the 15-day DL and recalled RHP Cody Eppley. ... Orioles RHP Tommy Hunter takes the mound for the Orioles on Wednesday for the opener of a two-game series in Kansas City. The Yankees head to Toronto for a two-game swing beginning Wednesday night. ... Doug O'Neill, trainer of Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He's in town for the Preakness, which will be run Saturday.